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Newsela - Matthew Gross

Grades
2 to 12
13 Favorites 1  Comments
Newsela is a data base of current events stories tailor-made for classroom use. Indexed by broad theme (e.g. War and Peace, Arts, Science, Health, Law, Money), stories are both student-friendly...more
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Newsela is a data base of current events stories tailor-made for classroom use. Indexed by broad theme (e.g. War and Peace, Arts, Science, Health, Law, Money), stories are both student-friendly and can be accessed in different formats by reading level. Use Newsela to differentiate nonfiction reading. Newspaper writers rewrite a story four times for a total of five Lexile levels per story. Many stories also have embedded, Common Core aligned quizzes that conform to the reading levels for checking comprehension. In addtion, each article has a writing prompt which is also designed to assess reading comprehension. An account is required to use Newsela, both for teachers and for students, but students sign up using a teacher or parent provided code rather than an email address. Teachers can create classes and assign reading-level specific articles to individual students, or download printable PDF copies of the article in any of its reading-level versions. There is an upgraded fee-based Pro Version which allows teachers or administrators to track reading progress, but most of the features are free and there is no advertising.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): differentiation (47), guided reading (47), independent reading (128), news (261), reading comprehension (116)

In the Classroom

Achieve two goals here: help students improve their reading comprehension and keep them current with what is happening in our nation and the world. When assigning articles, choose to have the class read at one reading level, or choose individuals and set the reading level for them. There are five categories from which to choose. You may want to set up different articles at different learning stations on the computers in your room. Have the students rotate daily through the stations, completing one or two a day until they have completed all five articles. Since Newsela is cloud based, even absent students can complete the missed work easily. Teachers of gifted students can use this site to accelerate or enrich reading for students. Find each students individual levels for reading nonfiction. Teachers of Learning Support and ELL students will love this alternate way for their students to meet current events requirements.

Comments

This is an excellent site and allows differentiation while everyone is reading the same text. Renee, NC, Grades: 0 - 5

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750 Words - Buster Benson

Grades
4 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
750 Words is a private place to write your thoughts, clear your head, scrawl a rant, or brainstorm ideas. You might ask yourself, why not just blog? Blogs have a ...more
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750 Words is a private place to write your thoughts, clear your head, scrawl a rant, or brainstorm ideas. You might ask yourself, why not just blog? Blogs have a "keep private" button, and if you forget to click it who knows who will be reading your most private thoughts. This program is based on the idea that getting your thoughts on (digital) paper every morning can clear your head, focus your ideas, and organize and energize you for the rest of the day. Inspired by the book The Artist's Way, and its hand-written "Morning Pages" exercise, the creator of this program converted that exercise to our 21st century tools. If you care about such things, there is also a point system where one can compare constancy of writing and words written with others.

tag(s): brainstorming (23), gamification (65), journals (21), process writing (42), writers workshop (31)

In the Classroom

To write daily is a good idea for students. It helps them clarify their thoughts and questions, and get in touch with their feelings. 750 Words would be perfect for any writing program or with gifted students who often feel very strongly about fairness and/or world issues well beyond their years. Students can get their thoughts and ideas written down without having to worry about a grade or someone chancing upon their writings in a school notebook. Here's an idea for any grade level. Have your students do free writes (stream of conscientiousness writing) starting with 5 minutes or more a day. Ask students to count their words daily when time is up, always trying to increase the word count. After a couple of weeks have them use 750 Words and complete the stream of writing on a computer or mobile device. (This shouldn't slow many of them down since most are quick at texting!). After the first day, and again after the second week, using 750 Words have a class discussion about which format they like better and why. Use a backchannel program like Meetings.io reviewed here, or Today's Meet, reviewed here, for the class discussion. Using one of these programs ensures that even your shy students have a chance to say what they think about 750 Words. Challenge your students to complete the 750 words at home. They can earn points, and you know how competition can inspire some of them! Resource students and ESL/ELL students could increase their writing skills and fluency by keeping an online, private journal daily with 750 Words. Emotional support, autistic support, or alternative ed students may find this private space to work out feelings very therapeutic.

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Quest - Alex Warren

Grades
5 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Create text-based adventure games and interactive fiction using Quest! No programming language required. You can also play games already designed by others. Choose the "play" option...more
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Create text-based adventure games and interactive fiction using Quest! No programming language required. You can also play games already designed by others. Choose the "play" option from the top of the web page to view and play games such as The Mansion or Shipwrecked. Play games online or download to your Windows computer. Design your own games online using your web browser or download software to your Windows PC to work offline. Create an account in Quest to begin creating activities. View the video tutorial for an overview of the activities and creation processes. Create rooms and objects or tasks for each room. Create more complex games by following complete instructions found in the web browser version of the game system creator. Add sound files and even videos to games in addition to tasks. An option allows players to choose their own endings to games. There is a documentation wiki and a forum to get help. This site may require some tinkering around to figure it out! But it is well worth the time. Note: since games available for Play are created by the general public, you will want to preview for appropriateness.

tag(s): interactive stories (32), process writing (42)

In the Classroom

Challenge students to create games when studying process writing of essays. Instead of writing a dry essay, create an object of entertainment with an interactive story. Use steps of the game to provide supporting evidence for the essay. Create simple text games to show the typical patterns of stories. Have a contest to see which group of students in your class can imagine the best game scenario. In science class, have student groups create games that follow the life of a plant or animal where players collect all the needed nutrients or conditions the plant/animal needs to survive. In civics/government class, have students create a game around getting elected, passing a bill, or ending Washington gridlock! Don't have time to have your students actually CREATE a game? Create your own "review" game for your students to use to prepare for the big test. This would be ideal if it is a unit that you teach yearly; you can reuse your game! Share some of the ready-made games on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Share this link with parents on your class website. Students may enjoy the challenge of creating a game during summer break.

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The Literacy Shed - Rob Smith

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Find hundreds of ideas for using the visual resources of film, animation, photographs and picture books for teaching literacy. Each "shed" has a theme: The Mystery Shed, The Video Game...more
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Find hundreds of ideas for using the visual resources of film, animation, photographs and picture books for teaching literacy. Each "shed" has a theme: The Mystery Shed, The Video Game Shed, The Fantasy Shed, The Myths Shed, The Picture Book Shed, and at least 25 more. Each "shed" has images and videos along with suggestions for using them. The activities and materials will appeal to many age groups from primary to college age. The Literacy Shed also features a resource a week and a blog entry for the week. This site is free, but donations are accepted. The Resource Shed features lesson plans and worksheets from others to go along with the animations. Only the videos use Flash. At the time of this review, all advertising was related to educational sites and activities.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (166), descriptive writing (41), expository writing (44), literacy (103), reading comprehension (116), writers workshop (31), writing (359), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

The Literacy shed is full of ideas for writing, creating, and improving your student's critical thinking skills. There are lesson plans with explicit instructions for writing. The high quality resources found here can be used as "stand alone" lessons or can be an introduction to a unit. Look to see if there is one to support a unit you already use. Here is an idea: after viewing one of your favorite picture books via video, and completing some of the suggested activities, have students bring in their favorite picture book and create activities similar to those found on The Literacy Shed. They could also create a video either with pictures from the book or by creating their own pictures and narrating the story. Be sure students use proper citation if posting them on TeacherTube, reviewed here, or another online program. Not finding your favorite book on The Literacy Shed? See if you can find a YouTube or Vimeo video and create your own lesson from a model at The Literacy Shed.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Games to Learn English - Owen Dwyer

Grades
K to 8
7 Favorites 0  Comments
Games to Learn English is a collection of games for ESL/ELL students or any student learning the basics of English and/or reading. Created for students of English language learners,...more
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Games to Learn English is a collection of games for ESL/ELL students or any student learning the basics of English and/or reading. Created for students of English language learners, the many activities focus on developing vocabulary, comprehension, grammar, word order, and spelling skills. Choose from interactives such as Fast Hands and Concentration to begin. Each activity includes directions for play and scoring explanations, and most have playing speed options.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): game based learning (103), preK (281), sentences (52), sequencing (31), spelling (168), vocabulary (323), vocabulary development (125)

In the Classroom

Although created for English language learners, this is an excellent site to develop vocabulary (and computer skills) for younger students. It also helps with speech/language vocabulary development and grammar reinforcement for special ed. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Complete the activities as a class with a student operating the board. Create a link on classroom computers and challenge students to increase their speed in completing games.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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FindIcons - findicons.com

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
FindIcons.com is a search tool that helps you find free icons. Type your term in the search bar to view icons in FindIcons database. Choose from several different options to ...more
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FindIcons.com is a search tool that helps you find free icons. Type your term in the search bar to view icons in FindIcons database. Choose from several different options to download icons in the file format desired, such as png. Convert to jpg, bmp, or several other file options. Each icon includes licensing information so you can look for icons that are Creative Commons or public domain. Create an account then make user sets of your favorite icons. Access your user sets from anywhere through the FindIcons website. Explore the TAGS button to find search ideas. Be aware: ANY word/term can be searched, some may not be appropriate for the classroom. If you plan to allow young people to use this site independently, be sure to discuss appropriate searching.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): images (266)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site as a resource for finding and saving icons to use on your website, or to include with class projects. Share this site with students to find icons for projects. If you make a whole-class account, you can create user sets in advance of projects to save time. In primary grades, these icons are terrific for teacher use! Use icons to create non-verbal signs for your non-readers in your classroom. Special education, world language, and ELL/ESL teachers can create non-verbal prompts for language learning. Use icons on your interactive whiteboard as drag and drop or labeling activities to build vocabulary and more.

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Nulu - nulu.com

Grades
7 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Learn English or Spanish through news stories. Use this site to become more fluent in Spanish or English (for ESL/ELL learners). Start by registering (with email or Facebook). Choose...more
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Learn English or Spanish through news stories. Use this site to become more fluent in Spanish or English (for ESL/ELL learners). Start by registering (with email or Facebook). Choose the language you wish to learn at the top of the screen ("English please"). Adjust other settings in your profile. You may have to click to "try" the premium version. No charge is collected for trying it, and the tools seem to all work for free. Read or listen to news articles about engaging topics. Select the type of news of interest to you. Use the audio button to listen to the story while reading. With a mouse over, a translation pops up. After learning more and more language, less translation will be necessary. Create flashcards by clicking on any difficult word. Select the level of difficulty for each word so that the word will reappear until you learn it. Stories may be in narrative or dialogue form. You can change the speed of the oral reading with a simple click. The site also offers review questions.

tag(s): news (261), spanish (108)

In the Classroom

Encourage ESL/ELL students and Spanish learners to increase their fluency by selecting news articles that appear interesting. Have one student prepare a story each week by having him or her preview the reading, prepare the flash cards, and also write additional comprehension questions. If permitted by your administration, students can log in with Facebook (or email) and make comments about the site and/or the stories there. Be sure to review good Netiquette about online commenting.

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FotoFlexer - Arbor Labs, Inc.

Grades
3 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Flex your photo creativity with this free tool. Transform images with scrapbook-like effects and embellishments. Begin with basic effects like cropping and contrasting. Add text, draw...more
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Flex your photo creativity with this free tool. Transform images with scrapbook-like effects and embellishments. Begin with basic effects like cropping and contrasting. Add text, draw on the photo, and add animated effects to flex your photo editing muscles. The tool is integrated with Facebook and most photosharing sites. You can also upload photos from your computer. Resave photos back to your computer, share online, or store in FotoFlexer. Flex your photos without an account or create an account to store them in FotoFlexer. Only the demonstrations require FLASH.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): images (266), photography (160)

In the Classroom

Stretch your students' creativity with these fun photo effects. Type sentences or definitions on photos that represent vocabulary words. Highlight geometric shapes in photos with the drawing tool to show math in everyday life or around the world. Integrate images in multimedia products. Narrate images with UtellStory (reviewed here) or other digital storytelling tools. Use the text tool to draw information on maps. Upload images from science labs for students to annotate their experiment. Upload images of student artwork and have students annotate to explain their techniques. In world languages, add the vocabulary word for actions or objects to create a picture dictionary. Enhance pictures for blogs, wikis, or classroom sites. Be sure to check district policy before using student pictures. Annotate photos for visual directions for assignments. If using pictures from the Internet, be sure to discuss copyright issues and approve pictures for student use. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Compfight, reviewed here, Wikimedia Commons, reviewed here, or PhotoPin, reviewed here.

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History and Politics Out Loud - WyzAnt Tutoring

Grades
6 to 12
8 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Listen to famous speeches by influential leaders of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Choose from the list of leaders including Winston Churchill, Richard Nixon, and Martin...more
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Listen to famous speeches by influential leaders of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Choose from the list of leaders including Winston Churchill, Richard Nixon, and Martin Luther King, Jr, and many others. View a short biography and background along with links to a famous speech (or speeches) given by that person. Some speeches are audio only, others are YouTube videos. If your district blocks YouTube, videos may not be viewable. You could always download the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): churchill (5), declaration of independence (13), inauguration (11), kennedy (27), martin luther king (37), persuasive writing (55), presidents (131), roosevelt (16)

In the Classroom

Share speeches from this site on your class webpage or blog for students to view at home. Share them with your class using your projector or interactive whiteboard. Have students use Fakebook (reviewed here) to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about a president, famous scientist, or nearly any other real or fictitious person after viewing and listening to speeches on this site. Use the text of speeches to create a word cloud (try Wordle, -reviewed here) to analyze a leader's priorities and emphasis. Use these examples as students prepare their own persuasive (or propaganda) speeches in English or civics classes. Teachers or ELL students can offer speeches with accompanying texts to help build vocabulary and listening skills.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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What So Proudly We Hail: Making American Citizens Through Literature - Amy and Leon Kass

Grades
5 to 12
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Be inspired to love American History! Development citizenship and awareness by using this ten-part curriculum of short stories, speeches, and songs. The curriculum consists of three...more
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Be inspired to love American History! Development citizenship and awareness by using this ten-part curriculum of short stories, speeches, and songs. The curriculum consists of three categories. The Meaning of America explores the American character and identity through the "close reading" of classical short stories such as "To Build a Fire" and "Man Without a Country." The American Calendar examines the purpose of the American holiday, proposing the celebrations help to unite us and attach us to our country. Songs for Free Men and Women scrutinizes national songs for meaning and how they emotionally attach us to our nation. All of this curriculum is inquiry based. It also offers suggested discussion questions, study guides, author biographies, and video discussions to model how higher-level-thinking conversations about each text should sound. What So Proudly We Hail uses primary texts, has rigor, is inquiry based, and has many essay topics and writing prompts aligned to the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies. A few of the blog entries include helpful information about the Common Core standards.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): democracy (12), guided reading (47), holidays (147), literacy (103), literature (275)

In the Classroom

This comprehensive program can be a bit overwhelming at first look. You might want to pick just one, high interest short story lesson, perhaps Jack London's "To Build a Fire." This lesson and many others lends itself to small group discussion and work. The introduction makes observations and asks questions to encourage active reading and deep discussions that you may want to use as a class. Whether you and your students complete the lesson as a class or in small groups, you may want to use a program like Today's Meet reviewed here to enable all students to have a voice. If using small groups, have students post what the group decided are the answers on Today's Meet so everyone can see all answers. Where answers differ, have students go back into the reading and cite evidence to support their answer on Today's Meet for all to see. Teachers of gifted and music can choose selected ideas from this site, as well. A teaching team could make this site the focus of a year-long effort with so much material available. Upper elementary teachers and higher can make holidays and patriotic songs far more meaningful through close reading and class discussions
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ESL Discussions - Sean Banville

Grades
7 to 12
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ESL Discussions is a resource of over 600 discussion questions. They could be used in ESL/ELL lessons, speaking practice, debate clubs, and as needed for any speaking activities. Categorized...more
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ESL Discussions is a resource of over 600 discussion questions. They could be used in ESL/ELL lessons, speaking practice, debate clubs, and as needed for any speaking activities. Categorized alphabetically, topics include everyday themes such as donuts as well as more controversial topics such as marijuana. Teachers working with K-12 students will want to select the questions rather than sending students to the site since there are also some very sensitive topics. Choose a topic to view two sets of questions to spark conversations: one for student A and another for student B. Choose the link to print questions in either Word or PDF. Although this site has a lot of advertisements, there are some very interesting topics to discuss/share.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): debate (41), speaking (24)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site to use anytime you want to develop and promote discussion skills in your classroom. After students have completed their discussion questions, have them present their findings to the class then create a quick poll (with no membership required) using kwiqpoll (reviewed here). Share with ESL/ELL and Special Education teachers as a resource for promoting discussion and speaking skills with their students. Use this site for teacher-selected topics in debate club, speech class, and more. Some of the topics could even make good blog prompts.
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English Lessons on American Presidents - Sean Banville

Grades
4 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This American Presidents website contains lesson plans for teaching about each of the US presidents all the way through Barack Obama. The site uses the informational text about each...more
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This American Presidents website contains lesson plans for teaching about each of the US presidents all the way through Barack Obama. The site uses the informational text about each president to teach, reinforce, and review English language concepts. The site is directly geared toward ESL/ELL students. However, all users will benefit from materials provided. Choose any president to view a short biography. There are also language lessons such as fill in the blank and writing activities. Choose from links at the top of the page to print the lesson in PDF format, hear the article read in mp3 format, and view additional activities such as flash cards and word jumbles. Although heavy in advertising, this site is worth a look as a resource for activities and lessons about US presidents.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): jefferson (19), kennedy (27), lincoln (86), presidents (131), reading comprehension (116), washington (36)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save this site as a resource to accompany US presidents units or to supplement current materials used in teaching about the presidents. This is a great tool to use in English/language arts class for nonfiction readings. If you want to remove distracting advertisements, use a tool such as Readability (reviewed here). Print activities and biographies about several different presidents to add to your substitute folder. Share this site with ESL/ELL and Special Education teachers as a resource for materials.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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ESL Reader- Online Reading Help - ESLdesk.com

Grades
2 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
ESL Reader provides instant reading help for English language learners. Use it to improve reading time and reading skills. Simply copy/paste or type text into the box and click. Each...more
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ESL Reader provides instant reading help for English language learners. Use it to improve reading time and reading skills. Simply copy/paste or type text into the box and click. Each word becomes a link to a dictionary, thesaurus, or other reference including Wikipedia. Numerous dictionaries and references are available. Select the dictionary or other reference work and click. The site also translates the selected text into a variety of languages, but use caution with online translators! They often scramble meaning and syntax.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): dictionaries (56), guided reading (47), thesaurus (24), vocabulary development (125)

In the Classroom

Provide a link to this site on classroom computers, and use it like a dictionary. Share this link with parents and students on your class web site to have as a resource any time.

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Writing Lesson of the Month Network - Corbett Harrrison

Grades
4 to 12
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Discover a wealth of writing ideas at this expansive site, including "Common Core friendly" ones! Sign up for the monthly newsletter to get a new writing idea each month. ...more
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Discover a wealth of writing ideas at this expansive site, including "Common Core friendly" ones! Sign up for the monthly newsletter to get a new writing idea each month. This Ning site has several groups to join, depending on your interests. If the group you're looking for doesn't exist, create one. At the time of this review, the current month's writing lesson is at the top of the home page. The menu across the top provides access to past writing lessons. This site mentions the Six Traits of Writing, and each month focuses on a different trait. A picture book that also focuses on the writing trait is part of the lesson plan.

tag(s): creative writing (166), six traits of writing (8), writing (359), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Find ideas for your students to write about. Or better yet, show them the categories, lists, and ideas and have them choose something as a class. Create small groups and allow them to look through the past writing lessons and books and decide as a group what they would like to write about. Use a program such as MixedInk reviewed here or allwritewithme reviewed here to help them collaborate on their writing experience. The site uses the Six Traits of Writing, and each month focuses on a different trait. To learn more about the Six Traits of writing visit Six Traits of Writing reviewed here or 6+1 Trait Writing Lesson Plans reviewed here.

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Famous People Lessons - Sean Banville

Grades
6 to 12
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This collection of over 150 lessons provides biographies and profiles of well known personalities for ESL/ELL (and other) students. The famous people range from 50 Cent to Walt Disney....more
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This collection of over 150 lessons provides biographies and profiles of well known personalities for ESL/ELL (and other) students. The famous people range from 50 Cent to Walt Disney. Scroll through the list of names. The main page shows each person's profession (or claim to fame), nationality, birthdate and date of death (when appropriate). Choose a name to go to the lesson. Lessons include a short biography (7-8th grade level reading) and activities to accompany it. Examples of activities include synonym match, cloze activities, spelling, and discussion questions.
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tag(s): biographies (87), fluency (23), parts of speech (68), reading comprehension (116), spelling (168), summarizing (13), word choice (26)

In the Classroom

This is an excellent site to use as part of a biography unit to match biographies to individual student interests. Allow students to choose a person, then print activities for them to complete. Use this site to practice reading fluency, informational texts, and comprehension with any student, Use this site in your substitute folder. Choose several biographies and print accompanying activities for students to complete. Have students create an annotated image of a biographical character including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here. Share with learning support teachers as well as ESL/ELL teachers to use as a high interest activity for older students.

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Szoter - szoter.com

Grades
K to 12
7 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Szoter is an online tool for annotating images stored on your computer or screenshots from your computer. Use this site directly on the web or download the Adobe Air version ...more
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Szoter is an online tool for annotating images stored on your computer or screenshots from your computer. Use this site directly on the web or download the Adobe Air version that runs on your desktop. Launch then choose from options to annotate such as load local image, capture camera image, make screenshot, or load image url. After your image loads, choose from editing options such as scaling image, drawing tools such as lines, arrows, and circles, and add text. When finished, save to your computer or publish and share to Twitter, Facebook, or copy the url provided.

tag(s): digital storytelling (144), images (266)

In the Classroom

Capture a screenshot of websites or software and annotate with directions for student use. Have students label and identify objects in an image. Label parts of a plant, continents, landforms, etc. Practice new words in a different language by asking students to label and identify objects in that language. Create a storyboard using several annotated images as a story starter. Art students can annotate images to point out design elements or annotate images of their own work to talk about the creative decisions they made. Share annotated Szoter images on your class website or blog to tell about a field trip or class event.

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QuizBean - Bluehouse Group

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
QuizBean is an online quiz generator that does not require registration. Create "this or that" (sorting) quizzes that involve two options easily and quickly. Begin with a title then...more
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QuizBean is an online quiz generator that does not require registration. Create "this or that" (sorting) quizzes that involve two options easily and quickly. Begin with a title then add quiz answer options. These will be the same two answers for every question. Write the question in the next screen. Add as many additional questions as desired. When completed, save and share via your unique QuizBean URL or send via email, Facebook, or Twitter. Responses receive a correct or incorrect notification. A running total of responses displays on the right side of the screen. Although this site is recommended for all grades, with elementary students the teacher should create the QuizBean for students (with their input). The home page features titles of quizzes created by current users (general public). Check the site before sharing it with students. Displayed on the front page are the most recent quizzes For example, at the time of this review, there were quizzes about beer preference.

tag(s): quiz (84), quizzes (96), test prep (95)

In the Classroom

This site would be great for review in many subject areas. Share how to use this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Create a QuizBean for early elementary students to identify nouns and verbs, animals and plants, vertebrates and invertebrates, healthy or unhealthy foods, etc. Have students identify Union or Confederate items for Civil War studies. In Science challenge students to categorize animals as mammal or reptile. Pretest your gifted students and allow them to "test out" of material already known. Challenge students to create their own QuizBean for others to use for review and post a link to the quizzes on the class website or blog. Create this-or-that quizzes for ESL/ELL students as they learn English, and then as they start writing to identify proper subject verb and subject pronoun agreement.

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The Book Drum - Book Drum, Ltd.

Grades
5 to 12
8 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Book Drum has the ultimate in book reviews and more for classic and contemporary fiction and nonfiction. Reviews are so colossally informative that Book Drum calls them "profiles" instead...more
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Book Drum has the ultimate in book reviews and more for classic and contemporary fiction and nonfiction. Reviews are so colossally informative that Book Drum calls them "profiles" instead of reviews. All types of readers will enjoy the interactive, visual content and attention to detail. Each "profile" has what you would expect: a summary, author information, and a review. However, that is where the "normal" stops and the colossal will begin. Some of the pages also include videos, gorgeous photos with captions and explanations, and maps of the area. The glossary defines difficult, unusual, and world language vocabulary. The most impressive feature is the Bookmarks. This is a page-by-page commentary and illustrations of the text. Head over to Book Drum and type in your favorite book title to see how informative it is. If your favorite book that is not on Book Drum, contact them and ask for a "profile" to be created or volunteer to create one for them as a contributor. Some of the videos require Flash.

tag(s): authors (120), book lists (128), book reports (35), independent reading (128), novels (24), writers workshop (31)

In the Classroom

Whether you are a high school class studying "To Kill a Mockingbird" or an elementary teacher reading Roald Dahl's "Mathilda" with your class, you will want to share with the excellent research that has gone into the "Bookmark" pages at Book Drum. For instance, in the first 25 pages Dahl's "Mathilda" mention the novels or the authors of "The Secret Garden," "Great Expectations," "A Moveable Feast," "Heart of Darkness," "Secret Agent," and "Kim." You will find explanations about the books and authors and links for more information. This is a powerful way to introduce young readers to the classics, the authors who wrote them, and general background knowledge.

If you run a reading/writing workshop with your middle or high school students or want to promote books in your library media center, introduce students to "Twilight," "The Graveyard Book" (Neil Gaiman), or any other contemporary book to help satisfy their curiosity about the places and information mentioned. If Book Drum doesn't have a "profile" on the book your literature circles are reading, have your students create a final project modeled on the Book Drum example. Use a wiki for student groups to collaborate on book profile pages. To learn more about using wikis in your classroom, check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through. Another good program for nonfiction literature circle projects is Meograph, (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Learn American English Online - Learn American English Online

Grades
2 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
  
This comprehensive English program offers complete ESL/ELL instruction on seven levels. The units/lessons are color-coded. The focus of the lessons is mostly on grammar. Blue for example...more
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This comprehensive English program offers complete ESL/ELL instruction on seven levels. The units/lessons are color-coded. The focus of the lessons is mostly on grammar. Blue for example focuses on "be," prepositions, this/that/these/those, and many other topics. You must be able to read and write English to successfully benefit from this website. Each color/level has more than 20 lessons, quizzes, tests, dialogues, and reading. Many of the lessons have an audio clip or a video (or a Voki) to illustrate the level. Answers are provided for the quizzes. Extras include a pronouncing dictionary (found under Vocabulary), extra video lessons, extra information on pronunciation, and extras in each level. The levels also contain reviews and checklists. Many of the videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube.
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tag(s): dictionaries (56), grammar (216), grammar review (37), listening (91), pronunciation (44)

In the Classroom

Check this site if you need a quick grammar review of any topic. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard/projector. Provide a link to this site on your class webpage. Many of these lessons would be useful with non-ESL/ELL students, as well. It is easy to scroll through the lessons in each color-coded level. Put a link to this site on classroom computers and send it home with ESL/ELL students in school newsletters to share with their parents.
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TV411 - Reading - Education Development Center, Inc.

Grades
6 to 12
5 Favorites 1  Comments
  
Find entertaining videos, web lessons, and downloads to support learning about reading comprehension, test prep, and libraries and books at TV411. Each video includes a short description...more
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Find entertaining videos, web lessons, and downloads to support learning about reading comprehension, test prep, and libraries and books at TV411. Each video includes a short description of contents, then just click to view the video. Below the video text includes skills addressed. For example, the video Dorothea Lange, Photographer addresses the skill of reading pictures. Skills addressed include summarizing, point of view, newspapers, highlighting, and study skills. Most videos are approximately three to five minutes long and include links to related web lessons and print-ables to download. Although this site was originally created for adult English language learners, it would be useful with all secondary students.

tag(s): context clues (8), maps (287), news (261), newspapers (94), poetry (228), point of view (9), summarizing (13), word study (80)

In the Classroom

View videos on your interactive whiteboard as part of your reading comprehension or study skills unit. Use on an as-needed basis to address classroom deficiencies in particular areas. Have students complete the web lessons on their own during computer center time. Create links to certain videos on your class website or blog for students to view at home. Check out the Teachers portion of the site to find activities for improving or introducing skills along with ideas for using the videos in the classroom. Challenge students to create a talking avatar using a photo or other image (legally permitted to be reproduced). The avatars can be used to provide suggestions for study skills and improving reading comprehension. Use a site such as Blabberize, reviewed here.
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Comments

This is an excellent site with a variety of short videos for concept instruction. Patricia, NJ, Grades: 6 - 12

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